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Will the Last Country Closed for Covid Reopen in 2024?

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7 months ago

During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtually all countries shut their borders to foreigners or severely restricted entry. At the time of writing, only one country still has its borders completely shut – but many positive signs suggest that’s about to change and this country is about to reopen!

And when it does reopen, there will be a huge influx of intrepid travelers trying to get there. You’ll only be able to visit on a tour group.

Which country could reopen in 2024?

As at the time of writing, every country has reopened its borders to foreign travellers except for one.

The signs of a reopening by North Korea are growing almost daily at this point! North Korea may officially reopen its borders to tourists in 2024 which means you might get the chance to see inside the Hermit Kingdom.

If you are thinking of travelling to North Korea, you’ll more than likely be asking yourself whether it’s unethical to travel to North Korea. And it’s a good question.

Is it ethical to travel to North Korea?

I used to get this question a lot from friends and family before I traveled to North Korea, and you will naturally think of this if you are considering a trip to North Korea. The usual arguments that you’ll hear against going to North Korea are a combination of the following:

  1. Tourist money goes to support the repressive regime and therefore extends the life of the government.
  2. Foreigners are used as tools by being presented to locals as people coming to pay their respects to the leaders and their ideologies.
  3. Everything you’ll be told will be a lie (not completely untrue) and you won’t be able to see the ‘real’ or ‘authentic’ North Korea beyond the authorized tourist trail.
  4. Your money will go toward funding North Korea’s ballistic missiles program or even its nuclear weapons program.

Frankly, many of the same arguments can be applied to China or even Turkmenistan, but you won’t hear people question the ethicality of travel to those places.

In my opinion, tours to North Korea are generally pretty cheap – especially when you consider it’s all-inclusive. It’s clear that the intention behind bringing in tourist dollars isn’t to fund a ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons program.

Your few hundred dollars won’t affect that government policy nor, unfortunately, improve the living conditions of North Koreans.

The North Korean government’s reason for encouraging foreign tourism into the country (before the pandemic) is simply to show foreigners a rosy picture of North Korea. Happy people, an abundance of food, a functioning country.

They obviously don’t want you to see the millions starving, the horrific executions, the concentration camps, the lack of free speech and thought, the terrifying inequality. The list can go on.

They want you to go back to your country and tell your friends and family that what they read about North Korea in the media is a lie. Just be alive to this during your tour. You will be receiving a very curated view of North Korean life that does not correspond with the reality for millions of people and doesn’t show the treachery of the regime.

My opinion on the matter is that there is significant value in North Koreans being able to interact with foreigners. This gives them a chance to interact with the outside world and hopefully dispel some of their misconceptions.

When will we know that tourism has resumed?

North Korea is famous for so many things, including that it is virtually impossible to get any information out of the country. If North Korea reopens in 2024, it is likely that it will be sudden and very few people will know about it before it happens.

To prepare yourself for North Korea opens, make sure to read the most important things to know before you go to North Korea.

Travel to North Korea can only be done through an accredited tour agency which means they will likely be the first to know. We’ll be keeping our finger on the pulse and updating you as soon as the borders reopen.

Why should I travel to North Korea?

North Korea is probably one of the most fascinating places in the world from an anthropological standpoint. The country is run by the Workers’ Party of Korea with the Kim family at the helm. The country is often called the Hermit Kingdom because it has sealed itself from the rest of the world.

When you’re on the ground, you have the chance to feel what it’s like to live in a communist society. And it truly is harrowing. The unfortunate reality is that millions of North Koreans are suffering under the regime in so many forms, whether it be starvation or forced labor.

There are so many interesting sites to see in the country which attracted thousands of Western tourists every year before the pandemic, and North Korea has so many interesting things about it.

Except for a group of Russians in January 2024, No foreign tourist has been to North Korea since January 2020, so if the borders do reopen to foreigners, nobody really knows what tourism in North Korea will look like in 2024. All that can be said is that it is a very unique society of over 20 million people that is worth your time to understand.

So if tourism does reopen for North Korea, give it a think! You might walk away having learned a lot more than you expected.


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